Phil Lilley

Posted by digitalmedium on December 14th, 2011
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Phil Lilley

Resident – Branson, Missouri

Origins – Born in Denison, Texas.  Grew up in Parsons, Kansas.

Education – Parsons Schools through high school.  Attended Christ for the Nations Inst., Dallas, TX.  Labette County College, Parsons. Oral Roberts Univ., Tulsa, OK.  Southwest Missouri State, Springfield, MO..

Vocation – Painted houses in high school and college, worked for a carpet carrier company in Springfield, MO before buying a resort in Branson, Missouri in 1983.  Resort owner to date.

I started fishing at a very young age thanks to my grandfather, Dain Harvey.  He was the best grandfather anyone could ever have although he’d get a little impatient with my lack of patience when fishing for fish that didn’t bite right away.  And yes, there was to be no noise made while in the boat and that was difficult seeing his boat was an old aluminum Lowe v-bottom.  We’d run trot lines on Lake Texoma and troll for sand bass while staying at their cabin on the west side of the lake.

Parsons was a small, farming town.  It wasn’t anything for me to take off either by bike or by foot and run over to my best friend Brian’s house and go fishing in either a cement pond near his house or to the lagoon down his street.  When we were old enough to drive, we head out to our favorite farm pond to catch bass and crappie most afternoons.  Those were the days.

My love for fishing and desire to host people in a camp or resort atmosphere drove me to start looking for a business in that field.  Both my wife Marsha and I desired the same thing–to provide a peaceful place to raise a family and own and operate a business in which our families could help.  That’s just what happened.

I started OzarkAnglers.Com in 1997.  It was an excellent vehicle to communicate with fellow anglers and provide fishing reports for our lake, Lake Taneycomo.  Being involved with fishing guides who guide on other area lakes, fishing reports for Table Rock and Bull Shoals started being posted. Then I became acquainted with Brian Wise, Brian Sloss and  Sam Potter who fish and guide on the North Fork of the White, Eleven Point and Current Rivers.  In 2005, I started a fishing forum on the site which quickly brought in dozens, then hundreds of area anglers talking about fishing on over 70 lakes, rivers and streams in the Ozarks.

My main objective through the years of hosting OzarkAnglers is education.  I love to teach people about fishing.  I love to talk about fishing and sharing stories.  I love to take people fishing, especially when the fish are biting! I like to write about fishing, although the creative juices of writing are hard to come by at times.

My love for fishing and the outdoors has taken me to some awesome places around our country.  I’ve been to the Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam, the mighty San Juan River, to Michigan and the Pere Marquette River and other rivers in that area.  I’ve been to the Florida Keys and up the gulf coast fishing both inland and in the salt.  But my favorite place so far is my travels to Alaska.

I started going to Alaska with my long time friend, Jim Johnson of Baldwin, Michigan.  Jim and his wife owned a lodge on the Pere Marquette River, sold it and bought a fishing camp on the Naknek River out of King Salmon, AK in 2006.  In 2007, he allowed me to build a small cabin on his property that I lease back to him when I’m not there.  Naknek River is known for its big rainbow trout as well as its huge salmon runs.  And it’s known for bears!  There’s nothing like fishing on a remote river and have a bear come down the stream doing the same.

My future plans are to enjoy my kids and now grandkids.  We have four adult children that we could not be more proud of.  Sara is married to Josh Clark.  Josh is in the Coast Guard and they have 2 kids, Jeriah and Serenity born in 2009 and 2011.  Megan is married to Jimmy Cummings and they live here in Branson.  Megan helps out at the resort in public and customer relations and Jimmy is a worship director at a local church and both are directors at the Baptist Student Union on the campus of College of the Ozarks.  Caleb lives and goes to seminary in Beverly, Ma. and is a area director for Young Life, working with school kids.  Greg lives here in Branson and works here at the resort in finance and at the front desk.  All graduated from College of the Ozarks.

Marsha and I would like to travel.  Of course, where ever Sara and Josh end up with the Coast Guard, that will be our number one destination.  But we would also like to explore many of our Ozark outdoor treasurers seeing there are so many close to home we haven’t been to yet.

We also are involved in our local church.  Our lives in so many aspects have always centered around our church family, bringing up our kids and growing spiritually with basically the same people since we moved here to Branson.  We are continually seeking the Lord for direction in our involvement in our community to help those who need help.  There’s is lots to be done and so little time to do it!

In closing, I hope to start a personal blog in the near future to share some non-fishing aspects of my life.  When the site is ready, I’ll post the url here and other places for view.  I am in the time of my life when I am more thoughtful about my future and making the most of my time here in this life.  I know what follows… and I want to share that knowledge, that experience in a common sense, clear way, not as “religion” but as a way of life.


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